Yoga Plus: Size Up Your Asanas To Suit Your Big, Bold & Beautiful Frame

by Nisha Gulati

Typical yoga classes can prove to be difficult for those falling in the “plus-size” category; detrimental even. If you’ve identified yourself as an overweight or obese person, make note that the needs of obese individuals will be different from the needs of the physically active when it comes to exercise programs.

This is exactly why yoga is ideal for those who are carrying excess baggage. It includes stamina building exercises and focused breathing which will help take the pressure off your lungs while easing you into weight loss in a paced manner.

Yoga also proves to be a lot safer for overweight and obese individuals as it minimizes risk of injury, and can be easily adapted to your limitations.

This is the reason why ‘Plus Size Yoga’ has found its audience. With asanas that are designed to trim the bulk and contour the curves of the big and the beautiful, you have studios like Curvy Yoga in Nashville, Buddha Body Yoga in New York City, Fat Yoga in Oregon, and Heavy Weight Yoga in Austin, Texas, all doing fabulously well!

Sizing Up The Difference
What most of these studios focus on are modifications, techniques, and a change in sequencing that really work with larger frames and heavier bodies.

For example, Anna Guest-Jelley, the founder of Curvy Yoga, shows students the best way to master forward bends when battling belly fat. She advises how to effectively shift stomach flesh away from the hip crease to make it possible to move forward. Along with that, she modifies feet distances for most standing asanas. Postures like Padahastasana / Standing Forward Bend, for instance, are not kept at hip-width, but wider.

Props are embraced and utilized to support joints and pose sequencing is altered as well. Hayes, the founder of Buddha Body Yoga is heavily in favor of Iyengar Yoga because of the safety and accessibility to bigger shaped yogis. It not only encourages proper form and alignment, but it also helps practitioners to advance effectively.

Sequence wise, most instructors begin with asanas that require the most support followed by the least supported, in contrast to more traditional yoga classes.

Surya namaskar

As a teacher, the weight loss and toning poses that I highly recommend are:

  1. Surya Namaskar or sun salutation, because it combines 12 asanas that engage the whole body from top to bottom. Lengthening, toning, and strengthening of the body, all happen in one very powerful sequence. Make note that repetition is key. Do as many as you can handle. Start with a round of 5 and work your way up!
  2. Warrior 1 and 2 or Virabhadrasana 1 and 2, because these work on toning and sculpting the legs, arms, and abdomen, and build stamina.
  3. Cobra Pose or Bhujangasana works the abs and entire back region, along with toning the butt.
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